Occasionally, ONE sponsors established artists to play concerts to raise awareness and to sign up new members. The list of established artists could include Chris Daughtry, Switchfoot, and U2, conveniently led by front man Bono, a co-founder of ONE. In fact, Bono is rumored to occasionally drop by the Washington, D.C. office to meet with David Lane, ONE’s CEO, and is even more rarely introduced to lowly interns such as myself. The chances of this are probably one in a million (think Dumb and Dumber, “So you’re saying there’s a chance?!”), however, Bono recently had back surgery and is on bed rest in Ireland, so I guess my 15 minutes will have to occur at some unspecified time in the future. Half past never sounds good/probable.
That being said, ONE also sponsors emerging artists, who may have a small, yet dedicated fan base who can hopefully be persuaded (see: coerced) into signing up for ONE membership, or inspired (see: coerced) to action. Actually, coercion isn’t really necessary to raise awareness. The difficulty lies in inspiring individuals to take action. This past week, I was asked to help schedule a concert that would bring Anna Gilbert, an emerging artist from Portland, Oregon, to D.C. to play an awareness (and hopefully action) raising concert for free. ONE paid for her travel expenses, but she played the show for free, and on less than 4 hours of sleep, so it could be argued she did play for a price: 6 cups of coffee to stay awake X $2.50 per cup=$15 dollars and extreme jet lag. And let me say, if anyone’s music could inspire people, particularly Christians, to take action, it would be Anna’s. She has a beautiful voice, complimented by inspirational lyrics and three very attractive men to play bass, drums, and electric guitar. She has so far recorded three albums, the third being the most musically diverse and upbeat.
One of my favorite songs was called, “Nobody Told You.” The lyrics read, “Sometimes harder is much better, sometimes pains the remedy, and when you think you’re getting weaker, find strength in peace. It’s ok to bleed, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to ask why, its ok to wonder sit in silence have no answers, cause when the morning brings the day, there will be another way to try again.” To me, these lyrics were a reminder of something that we all tend to forget: the importance of silence in determining the right course of action. Too often, alone time is sacrificed to a hectic day, and action is taken before the ‘why’ is actually determined. Dietrich Bonheoffer acknowledged this tendency, writing, “The mark of solitude is silence, as speech is the mark of community. Silence and speech have the same inner correspondence and difference as do solitude and community. One does not exist without the other. Right speech comes out of silence, and right silence comes out of speech.” The right silence can produce right community. This seems paradoxical, especially when you imagine a community together in an auditorium trying to plan an action that will serve to better others, and no one is speaking. But this isn’t the awkward silence generated by a bad blind date. It is an inner reflection that generates a decisive and effective community. In this case, silence is golden.